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Organized crime boss, Sam Giancana climbed to the top of Chicago's underworld and became a player on the national stage through shadowy ties to the Kennedys.
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Giancana was next called to testify before a United States Senate committee investigating Mafia involvement in a failed CIA plot to assassinate Castro. Before he was scheduled to testify, Giancana flew to Houston, Texas, and underwent gall bladder surgery. He returned to his Oak Park home on June 17, 1975. Two days later,
Sam Giancana was shot once in the back of the head and several more times up through the chin with a .22-caliber pistol while cooking in his basement. Though theories abounded as to who killed him (rival Mafiosi, CIA operatives nervous about his future testimony, one of many former girlfriends), no one was ever arrested in connection with the murder.
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Bootleggers, smugglers, drug dealers, hit men—all these occupations are the provenance of mobsters, who operate in ethnic, family and business networks. Mobsters' real life crimes, and Hollywood's fascination with them, has earned them a special place in the American imagination. From Al Capone's Chicago crime ring to Bugsy Siegel's Las Vegas racket, these mobsters have made their names notorious from coast to coast.
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